Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fitzgerald Finally Makes a Move: Blagojevich - and what of Obama?

Law enforcement never sleeps -- and in Chicago the Feds can hardly catch a nap

Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich is under arrest. It's the Rezko investigation, which led to much more, into a "political corruption crime spree." This includes trying to sell Barack Obama's seat on the U.S. Senate. And this, along with fresh evidence of attempted manipulation of the Chicago Tribune by Blagojevich, apparently triggered the arrest, in an otherwise long, arduous effort of collecting information, the kind for which Fitzgerald is famous. What I.O. has noted throughout the day follows.

On Illinois Review - "Source: Feds take Gov. Blagojevich into custody" (The FBI took him from home shortly after 6am CT.) This is also subject matter that HillBuzz covers. And let's give John Kass a day or two and see what he says. And, the I.O. sidebar should be interesting to watch.


11:30am CT, on TV - Patrick Fitzgerald is giving a press conference (C-SPAN link). He credits the Chicago Tribune, which found key information (in its face) held it from the public for awhile at the request of federal investigators, then published it Friday. This apparently led to even further evidence via bug or "wire," and wiretap. Instances of pay to play in state contracts are also in the complaint.

On Obama - Fitzgerald said that the complaint makes no allegations about him, "and that's all I can say," an interesting way to put it. See the exact quote, below.

Fitzgerald also stressed, "I encourage people to talk to us... to let us get to the bottom of what has happened here," and later reiterated, "...we need people, in the public, to stand up and say 'enough.'"

Later - Talking Democrat heads are starting to play Blago as a nutty oddball, while Obama tried to stay away from it all, yada, yada, "aloof," yada.

2:21pm CT. on TV - Obama: "saddened and sobered" about Blago, but since there is an ongoing investigation, he does not want to comment. (Instead, he focuses on spreading Al Gore's ploy for man-made global socialism, now inconveniently relabeled "climate change," as if this is news to the Earth.) Reporters lunge. Obama: "...sad day... ...won't comment..." Oh, but he hasn't spoken with the Illinois Governor lately, not even about the Senate seat he has just vacated. Even though he by some reports, had Valerie Jarrett in mind for it.

4:46 CT - The Patriot Room is requesting information about which of the Obama advisers were communicating to Blagojevich.

5:19 CT - A video of the entire federal investigator interview is on C-SPAN.org. In the video, the first question and answer I find, specifically about Obama occurs at about 18:07. He is asked if he would address whether or not "Obama was aware that any of these things were taking place." Fitzgerald replied, "I'm not gonna speak for what the president-elect [sic] was aware of. We make no allegations that he is aware of anything and that's i-as simply as I can put it."

The second Obama Q&A occurs at 32:19. Fitzgerald was asked a question in an interesting way:
"You spoke before about if senator - you didn't know the awareness that senator - president-elect Barack Obama knew about this [I.O., he did not say this. The reporter seems to be grappling for words to put in Fitzgerald's mouth, prone to clear Obama.] so is it safe to say he has not been briefed and can you also tell us if any phone calls were made to president-elect Obama that you intercepted or to Rahm Emanuel?
Fitzgerald responded:
I'm not going to go down anything that's not in the complaint and what I simply said before is I'm not gonna -- I have enough trouble speaking for myself -- I'm never gonna try and speak in the voice of a president or a president-elect. So, I simply pointed out that if you look at the complaint, there is no allegation that the president-elect -- there's no reference in the complaint to any conversations involving the president-elect, or indicating that the president-elect was aware of it and that's all I can say.
What does this mean for Barack Obama, regarding any matters such as: the Rezko land deal, the Broadway Bank loan, and the odd favor of anointing Alexi Giannoulias, his man for IL Treasury Secretary? Did Obama or his staff know of Blago's senatorial shakedown and come clean to the Feds? Have Obama and Blago been in touch, lately, as David Axelrod has stated, but Obama and staff later denied?

There are many allegations in the federal complaint and it has taken a great deal of time for the FBI to collect all the evidence gained so far, in its ongoing work. One does wonder how much they have learned about Obama during this time and why Fitzgerald continues to plea to citizens in the know, to come clean.

PS, 12/11 - I think I've seen Brando give that hug... or was it Pacino?

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